Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to George and Susan Stafford, 1 December [1883]

Date: December 1, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03914

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Kirsten Clawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

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Dec: 1st noon

I suppose Harry has written to you2—still I will send you this, for good measure—What H speaks of the "unearthly noises" &c. he will get used to in two or three days—it is like living near a railroad—

—I am well as usual—


London Ont Canada,
Nov 28–83

My Dear Old Friend:

I arrived here safely Saturday evening 6th. Have had quite a good time so far. Came direct to the asylum. Went on duty as turnkey Monday morning but will not remain here over six weeks or two months as the occupation is not pleasant. Cannot sleep at night there are so many unearthly noises and besides I want to get a position where I can make better wages. And as you know I am of a nervous temperament and the least scene shocks me.

I want to go to Detroit Mic, after I leave here; from there to Chicago, and want you to give me a letter to any business man you know there. Your recommendation has been the means of making me some good friends and I am shure with your letter, I can get something good in either of the cities. If you are not personally acquainted there give me letter to some of the newspaper men. It will carry lots of weight. You know how I have started. I want to make a lot somewhere. If I could only get in a telegraph office I would be one of the happiest fellows you ever saw.

Don't have any privilege here, not even time to write. I am up in my little room writing this while my patients are [sadly?] pacing up and down the hall. Have 42 men in my charge. Will have to close for the present so good-bye. Please don't forget that your boy is away among strangers and a good long letter from his dear friend will do him good.

Ever your

P.S. Don't forget to write soon and send the letters


1. This letter is addressed: [G]eorge and Susan M. Stafford | Kirkwood | (Glendale) | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Ca[md]en | Dec | 1 | 12 M | N.J. [back]

2. Harry Stafford was in London, Ontario, with Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke. Whitman wrote this letter to George and Susan Stafford on the back of one of the pages of Harry's letter to him from November 28, 1883. See also the letter from Whitman to Harry of December 8, 1883[back]


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